LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American Bar Assn. announced its endorsement of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, and the Task Force’s Interim Report. The report can be found at tinyurl.com/5e5f2bkz.
JABA is the first bar association in California to endorse the study, which documents harms from 250 years of enslavement, 90 years of Jim Crow and the decades following 1954’s Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education, as well as the lingering effects of such harms, systemic racism and other racial injustices inflicted on Black Americans.
The groundbreaking Interim Report, released on June 1, 2022, consists of 13 chapters tracing a through line from the institution of slavery and the permutations of racial oppression and exclusion thereafter, to today’s inequities in housing, education, employment, the criminal justice system, health care, income and wealth.
JABA President Staci Tomita said, “The Task Force’s Interim Report is almost 500 pages of horrific truth-telling necessary for the country to confront the systemic injustice that Black Americans continue to face today. We, as Japanese Americans, know that when America acknowledges its wrongs, repairs them, and becomes more inclusive, the nation is made stronger.”
JABA was founded in 1977 by attorneys who themselves, or whose parents and extended families, were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry incarcerated in 10 concentration camps from California to Arkansas without charges, evidence or trial. Most of JABA’s current members have family who were rounded-up and herded into these camps.
Following an 18-year movement led by Japanese American leaders, including members of JABA, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 to provide redress and reparations for Japanese Americans. The Act declared that a grave injustice motivated by racial prejudice had been done and that Japanese Americans suffered enormous damages warranting compensation and a congressional apology. It is one of the few American examples of reparations for racial injustice.
JABA is uniquely positioned to speak out on reparations for Black Americans. It took 40 years to reconcile four years of Japanese American incarceration. Now, more than 150 years since the “official end” of slavery, the country is long overdue to recognize and redress the system of inequity and racial bias that Black Americans continue to face. JABA applauds the Task Force for its critical work.
JABA was founded in 1977 in Los Angeles. Over the years, JABA has provided a special forum for members of the legal profession with interests and ties to the Japanese American community to discuss issues, network and serve our community.
For more information about JABA, visit jabaonline.org.